Parenthood is a big change in anyone’s life. But while there’s a lot written about how motherhood changes the lives of women, there is less about what a profound change fatherhood is for men and how it affects wellness.
In honor of Father’s Day and all the dads out there, we have some heartfelt wellness advice for fathers, whether new to parenthood or real paternal veterans.
Pay attention to post-partum wellness
If you are a new father, it’s important to stay on top of both your physical and mental health. Studies indicate that up to 10% of all new fathers experience sadness, depression, or anxiety after a birth—even experiencing a dip in testosterone. Even if you haven’t been officially impacted, the added stress and lack of sleep can take their toll.
While certainly the joy of a new child can help compensate, it’s also important for new dads to pay attention to proper sleep, nutrition, personal time, and support of their partner in parenthood.
For new parents, mindfulness can help with anxiety, stress, and lack of sleep. Researchers have discovered that 27 minutes of mindfulness exercises a day can increase density in areas of the brain associated with compassion, learning, and memory, and decreased density in the amygdala, the area of the brain that triggers stress.
Find a retreat
Set up an area of calm. Call it a “man cave” if you wish, though keep in mind that the modern male retreat doesn’t need to sport the stereotypical beer fridge, taxidermy, and/or gaming setup to be a true retreat. (In fact, if you rely on a man cave for relaxation, keep in mind that blue light from video games and televisions can interfere with proper sleep by disrupting the production of melatonin, the “sleep hormone”—aside from the lack of sleep caused by watching TV or playing video games until the wee hours of the morning.)
Consider including more peaceful and rest-inducing items in a man cave, like plants, lavender oil, and a massage table—even an hour of massage or mindfulness can be restorative.
Get a move on
With all the demands on your time as a father, and possible movement restrictions on gym attendance, it can be difficult to find time to exercise and move—but it’s vitally important for everyone, and perhaps particularly for fathers. Studies have shown that fitness and wellness lifestyle choices for fathers are very influential for their children—perhaps even more so than for mothers.
Exercise, of course, has myriad other benefits, from lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, to reducing stress, to improving the quality of sleep, to, yes, making it easier to pick up your kids. Flexibility is another vital component of fitness—making it much easier to strengthen muscles, prevent injury or reduce its effects, and install car seats. If like many men the dad in your life has some issues with flexibility, consider stretching exercises, yoga, or vibration technology gadgets.
And, of course, we’d be in remiss if we didn’t mention that you can get all the percussion and vibration technology any dad could ever need to relax and recover from the high-impact demands of fatherhood at the Zeel Store. Father’s Day tip: If you purchase a Hypervolt or Hypervolt Plus massage gun from the Zeel Store by Father’s Day, the lucky recipient will get complimentary access to a pro training session in Hypervolt massage techniques with a certified personal trainer!
Happy Father’s Day!
Wishing all dads the best in health and wellness this June and every day!
Marcy is the SVP of People and Communications at Zeel. In addition to overseeing the humans of Zeel, Marcy has written about workplace topics for more than 20 years both at Zeel and as VP of Content for Vault.com, a career information web site and publisher.